If you thought robotic pets peaked with Tamagotchis then check out the Xiaomi CyberDog 2, a digital dog that has my own pooch looking slightly embarrassed.
The original CyberDog didn't really resemble man's best friend but the freshly announced follow-up definitely has a more canine profile. More specifically, it resembles a Doberman in both the shape of its head and its gait, albeit standing slightly smaller at 36cm tall and less heavy when it jumps on your lap, at just 8.9 kg.
The CyberDog 2 is literally full of tricks, such as backflips and press-ups but it is something that no fluffy dog could ever achieve that has us fascinated. It can change colour.
Much like the colour-changing BMW Flow, the CyberDog 2 uses an E-Ink Prism skin (essentially an external display) that dynamically changes colour based on its actions. If you've ever felt like your dog should have racing stripes while it has the zoomies, that might soon be the case.
Of course, our beloved pets aren't going anywhere but the CyberDog is an impressive bit of tech with 19 sensors covering vision, touch and hearing. Excitingly, Xiaomi have confirmed the dog will be as open source as possible, from its "coding to structural drawings." with Xiaomi hoping that a community of developers will emerge to promote "the progress and enhancement of bio-inspired robots to truly benefit people's lives in the future." I'm not sure quite what the practical uses are for robot pets but perhaps one day they could give us the same satisfaction and bond of real pets.
The CyberDog 2 is not going to come cheap, priced at around $1800 and not confirmed to be available outside of China yet. If you are desperate for a mechanical canine, one of the coolest toys I've seen is a cheaper alternative that you can build yourself.